Judge orders no tweeting of Sandusky trial, accusers cannot remain anonymous
Jury selection is set to begin on Tuesday in the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Jerry Sandusky is accused of multiple vile and monstrous acts of child sexual abuse, spanning decades.
The judge issued two major rulings today.
There will be no live-tweeting of the Sandusky trial. Its judge ruled today that electronic communication is not allowed from the courtroom.
— Alicia Jessop (@RulingSports) June 4, 2012
Judge rules alleged victims of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky have to testify using their names – not pseudonyms.
— GoodDayPhiladelphia (@Good_Day_Philly) June 4, 2012
#Sandusky judge says alleged victims can't use aliases in court, and will have to state their names for the record.
— Sara Ganim (@sganim) June 4, 2012
As Twitchy reported in March, often crimes like those allegedly committed by Jerry Sandusky go unreported. The psychological trauma is devastating and long-lasting. Even when reported, the victims seek to remain anonymous. This judge says no.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 4, 2012
More from ABC News:
Five of the alleged victims had petitioned Judge John Cleland to keep their identities anonymous by allowing them to use pseudonyms. All of the victims have been previously been denoted only by number, such as “Victim 1″ and “Victim 2,” during the investigation and pre-trial hearings.
When the trial begins on June 11, the court will not take any official action to protect their identities as the alleged victims testify againstSandusky, 58, who is charged with 52 counts of child molestation.
“While I will make every effort to be sensitive to the nature of the alleged victims’ testimony, once the trial begins the veil must be lifted,” Cleland wrote in an order released today.
The victims are expected to testify about the incidents in which Sandusky allegedly molested them, including on Penn State’s campus, in the football locker room showers, in the campus hotel Toftrees, in Arizona at the 1998 Outback Bowl Game, and 1999 Alamo Bowl game.
The veil must be lifted…except on Twitter.
— Jonathan Cooper (@jemersoncooper) June 4, 2012
— Michael Sisak (@mikesisak) June 4, 2012
Well, we won't be tweeting from the courtrooms tomorrow during #Sandusky jury selection, but we will be reporting throughout the day.
— The Patriot-News (@PatriotNews) June 4, 2012
Sandusky judge says no tweeting, posting or communicating at all from inside the courthouse or annex during trial http://t.co/Raer6BYX
— Jay Leiderman (@JayLeidermanLaw) June 4, 2012
Judge Cleland also issued a ruling Monday barring reporters from using Twitter or email to post reports on the trial from the courthouse in the central Pennsylvania town of Bellefonte, near State College, where Penn State is based.
In his response to major media companies, which wanted him to clarify his decorum order governing the use of electronic media during the proceedings, Cleland said journalists may use their electronic “tools of the trade” to write quotes and details about the unfolding case.
But he said they may not tweet or email “any form of communication to any person or device either in or out of the courthouse or courthouse annex.”
The New York Times, CNN, The Wall Street journal, the Harrisburg Patriot-News, the Pennsylvania Newspapers Association and others wanted Cleland to modify his decorum order to allow the verbatim tweeting and emailing of courtroom events, which reporters have done at every pre-trial event to date.
Cleland said allowing tweets or emails during jury selection and the trial might “impact the judge’s ability to assure a fair trial could be conducted.”
In the judge’s order denying anonymity for the accusers, he said “secrecy is thought to be inconsistent with the openness required to assure the public that the law is being administered fairly and applied faithfully.”
Unless Twitter is involved. Then “secrecy” is hunky-dory.